Introduction: Do you have trouble meditating? Trouble
concentrating during prayer? I do. My mind reminds me of a
squirrel, jumping all around to different topics. If I say
to myself, “I’m going to start praying on a certain subject,
all of a sudden I find myself thinking about something else.
Thankfully, writing these lessons focuses my mind on
spiritual issues. Contemplating God’s words fixes my
attention. Apparently, a lot of God’s children are just like
me. One major purpose of the Psalms is to be a prayer book.
Reading the words of the Psalms focuses the mind on the
subject of the prayer in that psalms. To help us focus, the
Psalms cover many subjects of prayer. This week we are
studying prayer during troubling times. Let’s dive into the
Psalms and learn more about focusing our mind!

I. Trouble for Nothing

A. Read Psalms 44:1-3. What does history teach God’s
people? (That God has defeated their enemies in
the past. The work was done by God and not His

B. Read Psalms 44:9-13. What is happening to God’s
people now? (God refuses to help them. He did not
give them victory through His power. Rather He
“sold” His people for a very small price. Their
enemies are now laughing at them!)

C. Read Psalms 44:18-22. Whose fault is it that the
people are suffering? (God’s people claim that it
is not their fault. They have been faithful.)

D. Read Psalms 44:23. Who is being blamed for these
problems? (God is sleeping. He is not paying
attention to the trouble suffered by His people.)

E. Look again at Psalms 44:22. What motivates the bad
guys to hurt God’s people? (This psalmist claims
they are being hurt because of their obedience to

F. Look again at Psalms 44:13. Do they think God is
merely sleeping? That their troubles are
inadvertence on God’s part? (No! The psalmist says
this is intentional – God has made them the
laughingstock of their opponents.)

G. Let’s step back and contemplate this. If the
psalmist is to be believed, do the people have a
legitimate complaint against God? (You would
expect God to help you if you are being hurt due
to your faithfulness to Him.)

1. Do you believe the complaint? (I do not. I do
not recall a single story in the Old Testament
where God’s people suffered because God wanted
to hurt them for being faithful. The
negligence charges are also false. God does
not sleep.)

2. What does your own experience teach you? (I
hear people claim that they have no fault in
their current suffering, but this is generally
not true. The darker claim, that God wants to
hurt them for no reason must be tested against
the cross – where God suffered terribly to
save us.)

H. Read Psalms 44:26. Obviously, I cannot say for
certain that the psalmist is not being honest, but
let’s assume that he is not being realistic. What
is the purpose of Psalms 44 for our prayers? (Do
you think that you are honest with God about your
faults? I’m certain that I am always giving
myself “the benefit of the doubt.” For those of us
who deceive ourselves about out sins, Psalms 44 is
a comfort.)

1. Why would God provide a prayer psalms for
those who are not honest with Him? (This, once
again, show God’s great love to us! He
understands our weakness.)

I. Read Psalms 60:2-3. What does this teach us who
are not completely honest with ourselves and God
about our sins? (Troubling times help us to “see
hard things.”)

J. Read Psalms 60:4-5 and Psalms 60:11-12. Will God
help us even when we are the source of our
troubles? (Yes. Even when we deserve what is
happening to us we can call on God to “tread down
our foes.”)

II. Trouble for Something

A. Read Psalms 22:4-5. What is the historical
pattern? What is the precedent? (If we trust God,
He will deliver us. We will not suffer shame.)

B. Read Psalms 22:7-8. What is happening here? (Once
again, the allegation is that the psalmist (here
King David) is being mocked for trusting God.)

1. Do these words seem familiar? (Read Luke 23:35.
This is exactly how the Jewish rulers
mocked Jesus.)

C. Read Psalms 22:11-13. How dangerous is this
situation? (Very. No one is near to help.)

D. Read Psalms 22:14-18. Has King David been
defeated? (It seems that defeat is almost
complete. His clothes are being taken from him.)

1. Once again, does this sound familiar? (Read
John 19:34 and Matthew 27:35. This is a
Messianic prophecy.)

2. This puts a new light on Psalms 22. What
should we be thinking as we pray this Psalms
in times of trouble? (That Jesus suffered and
therefore we have His company in our

a. Jesus volunteered for this. Doesn’t that
make a big difference? (As sinners, we
all “volunteered” to suffer because of
sin. Only because of Jesus’ suffering do
we have a way out of suffering and
eternal death.)

E. Read Psalms 22:26-28. What is the end result of
Jesus’ suffering? (Victory is given to Him for our

F. Read Psalms 22:29-31. Who is the one “who could
not keep himself alive?” (That is us. We cannot
keep ourselves alive.)

III. Confidence in God

A. Read Psalms 13:1-2. What do you think it means to
“take counsel in my soul?” (This is the issue we
discussed in the introduction. We attempt to focus
our minds on some issue. But staying focused is

1. Is the psalmist successful in concentrating
his attention? (It seems that he is. He says
he has “sorrow in [his] heart all the day.”)

2. Do you suffer with sorrow and sadness? (That
seems to be a different kind of focus. You
cannot help feeling sad.)

3. Does David have a reason for sorrow? (He enemy
is exalted over him. This is not depression
that seems to have no specific source. David
has a reason to be sad.)

B. Read Psalms 13:3-4. David asks God to “consider”
his request for help. What argument does David
make for help? (David’s enemies will prevail over

1. What do you think about that argument? Please
help me because I don’t want my enemies to

C. Read Psalms 13:5-6. David makes a different
argument here. What is it? (He believes that God
loves him. He believes that God will save him. The
reason he believes this is because God has dealt
“bountifully,” with him in the past.)

D. Consider how these Psalms would impact you if you
were reading them when you are suffering? When you
feel defeated and discouraged? (First, they
provide courage that God will help, even when it
seems He is not paying attention to the problem.
Second, they encourage us to consider what our
role might be in the problems that we face. That
helps us to be realistic about our situation and
to refrain from needlessly blaming God. Last, even
when we are the source of our suffering, God is
there to help us. We can think about how Jesus
came to rescue us sinners!)

E. Friend, will you turn to the Psalms to help you
pray in times of trouble? Why not determine to
make that a part of your religious practice?

IV. Next week: The Lord Reigns.

Copr. 2024, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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